We are delighted to share the news that Sir Adrian Smith has been confirmed as President Elect of the Royal Society.

Adrian will take up the post of President on 30 November 2020 and will continue his leadership of The Alan Turing Institute as Director.

Howard Covington, Chair of The Alan Turing Institute said:

‘This is an immensely prestigious appointment for Adrian and thoroughly deserved. It reflects both his enormous contribution to statistical sciences and his many leadership roles in the UK’s scientific community. It also recognises the central position of data science and artificial intelligence within our scientific ecosystem.’

Adrian Smith is a distinguished statistician, for which he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001. Alongside his outstanding academic record, he has a wealth of experience of working with government and leading word-class research institutes. Former to his role at The Alan Turing Institute, he was Vice-Chancellor at the University of London (2012-18) and was Principal (1998 – 2008) at Queen Mary, University of London.

He has a strong track record of promoting science for the public good, both in his current role at the Turing and when he was Director General for Knowledge and Innovation (2008-12) in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (now BEIS). In his time there, he played an instrumental role in securing a flat cash settlement for science in the 2010 government Comprehensive Spending Review – a major success at a time when most sectors were suffering cuts. It was the start of a process that has seen the government commit to increased investment in UK R&D.

Royal Society
The Royal Society buildings ©The Royal Society

He is a long-time advocate for STEM education and encouraging more girls to study mathematics. He led a 2002-4 study into post-14 maths education, and in 2016-18, led a review of maths teaching for 16 to 18-year-olds, both for the Department for Education.

There have been 61 Presidents of the Royal Society since it was founded in 1660. Previous Presidents of the Royal Society have included Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton, Joseph Banks, Humphry Davy, and Ernest Rutherford.

For further information about the appointment contact:

Bronwyn Friedlander or Alex Matthews-King

The Royal Society Press Office

[email protected] / +44 (0)207 451 2510/ out of hours + 44 (0)7931 423 323


About the Royal Society

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding Charters of the 1660s, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. Website: http://royalsociety.org

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